Some people today are saying that Sunday School is no longer a vital part of the overall process of the local church. This is an unfortunate opinion. Sunday School/Bible Study today is probably just as important, if not more important, in the process of the local church than ever before. Sunday School/Bible Study is still the largest, most organized ministry in most of our churches, and to cancel it or dismiss it to second class status as irrelevant or outdated is a huge mistake.
Part of the problem is that we are more willing to live with the status quo than to bravely go forward in making the necessary changes to Sunday School/Bible Study. We cannot live in the past and we cannot continue to do Sunday School/Bible Study as many are doing. If we are going to be genuinely concerned about seeing spiritual transformation take place in the lives of our members, then we must be willing to do what is necessary in the process of reaching, teaching, and keeping people and thereby helping them become the disciples and disciple-makers God wants them to be. The question is then asked, “How do we see this accomplished?” There are three foundational elements of a Sunday School/Bible Study ministry that must be present in order for it to be vital in the life of the church
Sunday School must be be intentional in order to be a vital reaching arm of the church. To be intentional the Sunday School must earnestly want to touch the lives of people in its community with the truths of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Intentionality means people are willing to take the time and expend the effort to develop lasting relationships with those in the community who need Christ. Be intentional in your Sunday School ministry; move back up to the table and become relevant in the overall church process.
If your Sunday School/Bible Study ministry is going to be an important player in the process of your church, it must be biblical in content with the goal of relevant application. The message is Jesus and Jesus only, but methodology must change to meet the needs of a changing society. Students must hear biblical teaching and not opinions. People must easily see practical application and relevance to the everyday needs. They must see God’s truth as helpful to them as they seek Him and seek to survive in this world. If Sunday School is biblical, “sharing the truth in love,” it will be welcomed at the table as the church looks at its mission and process.
If Sunday School/Bible Study is going to rebound and become a vital member table of the overall church’s ministry, it must be relational in its setting. It must help to draw and keep people together as the church navigates the process of helping kingdom work advance and cultural change take place. Relationships take time and effort. The structure is there, we
just need to hold people accountable to the ministry of discipleship. It is not about me or any other individual. It is about allowing God to use each of us to the build the Body of Christ so that spiritual transformation- not just information transfer- is actually taking place. Building strong relationships is a key in enabling the teaching ministry keep the people who enter the front door.
If Sunday School is intentional, biblical and relational, it will be welcome in the decision making process of the church. Pray in such a manner that the Lord will ignite the Sunday School/Bible Study ministry to be the kind of teaching ministry that makes a difference.